Research indicates that the brain neurotransmitter, serotonin (5-HT),
is increased from TM practice. This is good news and bad news.
news is that those people who are experiencing abnormally low levels
of serotonin may temporarily benefit
from the increase. Chronically low levels of serotonin are associated
with some forms of anxiety and depression, and have been successfully
treated with a group of SSRI drugs designed to raise serotonin
news is that too much serotonin has been shown to
have a range of negative, sometimes devastating, effects.
The condition of elevated serotonin levels is referred to
as "serotonin syndrome" or "hyperserotonemia." A significant number
of negative TM side effects correspond to the negative effects of
Here are some of the reported negative effects of TM:
- Muscle twitches and convulsions
- Stomach and bowel complaints
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Inability to focus -- feeling "spacey"
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Dissociation and depersonalization
- Nervous breakdown and suicidal ideation
Below are excerpts from two different publications, citing
symptoms of elevated levels of serotonin:
Snyder, Solomon Halbert. Drugs and the Brain. W H Freeman & Co, 1996.
The author is chair of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in
Baltimore, Maryland and one of the top three most cited scientists
in the life science. Excerpt:
adverse physical and psychiatric side effects produced by elevated levels
of serotonin ...reported after effects: withdrawal, memory loss, sleep
disorders, panic and anxiety attacks (adrenalin rushes), impaired
concentration, bi-polar, diabetes, MS symptoms, mania, chronic fatigue,
severe rebound depression, symptoms of Cushings Syndrome - moon face,
looking or feeling pregnant, inability to handle stress, mood swings,
etc. ...depression, manic-depression, panic, anxiety,
OCD, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc."
"The Serotonin Syndrome". American Journal of Psychiatry. June 1991.
"The symptoms of the serotonin syndrome are: euphoria, drowsiness,
sustained rapid eye movement, overreaction of the reflexes, rapid
muscle contraction and relaxation in the ankle causing abnormal movements
of the foot, clumsiness, restlessness, feeling drunk and dizzy, muscle
contraction and relaxation in the jaw, sweating, intoxication, muscle
twitching, rigidity, high body temperature, mental status changes were
If the stimulated increase in serotonin, produced by TM, is compared
with the serotonin increase produced by SSRI (Selective Serotonin
Reuptake Inhibitor) drugs, these are the effects which may be
"Unfortunately, SSRIs also affect other serotonin receptors, which
account for their unwanted side effects. Stimulating the serotonin
receptor called 5HT2 could lead to agitation, akathisia
(motor restlessness), anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia,
sexual dysfunction. Stimulating the serotonin receptor called 5HT3
could lead to nausea, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and headache."
This evidence suggests that TM practice(s) may be implicated in
Notes to Text:
 Reference: Serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine metabolites in transcendental
meditation-technique. Bujatti M, Riederer P J: Neural Transm
Schloss P. Williams, DC,
University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland
Lopez JF, Vazquez DM, Chalmers
DT, Watson SJ, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical
 Reported negative effects appear to intensify with increased
time spent in TM practice(s). See
Harmful Effects From TM
 Reference: Psychopharmacology of Antidepressants by Stephen M. Stahl,
M.D., Martin Dunitz, Ltd., London, UK, 1997.